The Colts head into the offseason with a healthy handful of needs. If you look at the various mock drafts, you see that most projections have Indianapolis addressing their defense. I would have been pleased if they opted for a wide receiver with their second round selection in May, but the draft stock of the top receivers is rising quickly, and it seems less and less likely that there will be value at the receiver position this year. Adding to the offensive line or throwing more prospects at at the money pit that is the Colts defense seems like to the best bet in the draft this year.
Still, I have long been of the opinion that the offense changed significantly for the worse when Reggie Wayne was injured. The Colts ended the season without someone nearly as reliable as Wayne, and it was clear that Andrew Luck needed a receiver he could trust. It pained me to watch the likes of TY Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Coby Fleener fail to get open or drop pass after pass. I think if it was still Peyton Manning running the team, his head would have exploded.
The Colts will be able to keep their burner in T.Y. Hilton as a big play receiver no matter what happens, but they need to have a consistent route runner and someone who isn’t prone to dropping the ball. Eric Decker is not that guy. Despite all the outlets linking Decker with the Colts, I can’t get behind that move. He dropped passes at double the rate of Hilton and Fleener and would cost so much money that it would be prohibitive for improvements elsewhere. The Colts should be a lure to other free agency, what with the bright future the team has, and they would do well to keep money available for such additions.
I think a better idea would be to give Andrew Luck a reliable check down receiver out of the slot until Fleener develops into the playmaker he can be. I think an affordable option would be Kansas City Chief Dexter McCluster, who is also a free agent this season. He is fleet of foot, and most importantly, has a drop rate of less than 3%. If he has built a successful career with Matt Cassell and Alex Smith in Kansas City, can you imagine what he would do with Andrew Luck on the turf of Lucas Oil Field?
McCluster will command significantly less money than Decker and is only 24. He is a proven commodity and is young enough that he can still develop within the team, and the back end of his contract will be as valuable as the beginning. So I don’t endorse Eric Decker coming to Indianapolis, but I fully support adding a wideout via free agency.